President Jacob Zuma and "those who have sold the country to the Gupta family" deserve nothing more than a hefty jail sentence, the DA said. File picture: Armand Hough/ANA

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and "those who have sold the country to the Gupta family" deserve nothing more than a hefty jail sentence, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

Reports on Sunday that the African National Congress was negotiating an exit deal for Zuma was nothing but "betrayal to the people of South Africa whose lives have been worsened during his tenure as the president", DA national spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe said.

"ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte remarked that President Jacob Zuma 'is here to stay'. President Zuma and those who have sold the country to the Gupta family deserve nothing more than a hefty jail sentence. That the ANC would negotiate anything either than bringing him and his cronies to book reaffirms that despite the new leadership nothing has changed in this organisation," Nt'sekhe said.

The DA had continuously held Zuma and his politically connected cronies accountable over the years. "We have pursued - for over a decade - the spy tapes case (783 charges of corruption and racketeering) and last year gathered evidence which was handed over to the Hawks in August, and we are pleased that these charges are finally being pursued.'

The DA welcomed reports that the Hawks had acted against several individuals implicated in state capture, including Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and the Gupta brothers, who "are President Jacob Zuma’s friends".

"Zwane and Free State premier Ace Magashule must be jailed for their role in the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal, where R220 million which was earmarked for poor black farmers was stolen. We will continue fighting to ensure the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] prosecutes President Zuma and that he has his day in court. The DA will use every avenue to continue holding [to account] those responsible for looting public resources at the expense of our people," Nt'sekhe said.

African News Agency/ANA